deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 cover3.jpg
First Impressions REVIEW

Introducing the Canyon Spectral 125 CF 8

Words Cam McRae
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Feb 17, 2022
Reading time

Do not let the recycled name fool you; this is a brand new bike from Canyon. It resembles the Neuron in terms of travel, but it's closer to the original Spectral in terms of attitude and intended use, but with only 125mm of rear travel (you may have guessed that) and 140 up front. It's very slack considering the travel numbers and quite long as well. It isn't terribly low oddly, but otherwise the Canyon Spectral 125 has dimensions that are much closer to a modern enduro sled than to an XC greyhound. Of the bikes currently on the market, the Spectral 125 may most closely resemble the Norco Optic, which has identical travel and a head angle that's only 1º steeper. In short, this is a small bike to get rowdy on.

DSC04543 denizmerdano canyon spectral125 cam.jpg

This is a bike with very fine lines and a sleek silhouette.

My long stretches on two different generations of Santa Cruz Tallboy (I had a very hard time giving the last one back) taught me not to underestimate bikes simply because their rear travel doesn't measure up to the bikes I usually ride. And yet there were always a few things I wanted to change on the Tallboys; I wanted to over-fork them a little in terms of travel and in terms of rigidity, and I wouldn't have objected to them getting a little slacker. Both of these changes would have been location-specific for me and those bikes would perform admirably in most landscapes as they sit now. And yet, when tipping into rock faces or in any steep situation, particularly those involving line changes, more squish and more rigidity up front are worthy assets that wouldn't alter the agile character of those bikes dramatically.

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 41.jpg

The snow was thin but rideable at the top of Mystery DH on Cypress, and it was gone before we hit the power line.

Canyon, with a large dose of Vernon Felton's input, made a bike that fills those gaps in the form of the Spectral 125. This is most evident when you look at the Spectral 125 6, 8 and 9, because each is equipped with a 140mm-travel Fox 36 forks (the top two with GRIP 2 dampers). The head angle is an enduro-appropriate 64º, the front triangle is very low but also very roomy, and it's relatively long

*The Spectral 125 7 has a Rock Shox Pike Select+ which is undoubtedly a very fine fork, and certain to be a more appropriate spec. for much of the world while the Spectral 125 5 has a Rock Shox 35 Gold which I have never ridden

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 49.jpg

This was the trail the Spectral 125 was made for.

For our photoshoot we went straight for the North Shore mountain with the most consistently gnarly trails: Cypress. It may not hold the title for the most difficult individual trails but there are no easy ways down. With a short window before the embargo lift it seemed to make sense to toss it in the deep end to see if it could swim. Lately the upper sections have been snowed in but Deniz and I were feeling lucky. The first couple of pitches were indeed under a blanket but when things opened up the dirt was perfection. Our first descent might have been the ideal choice for the S-125. It's a little steep in sections and has some opportunities for air and lots of speed, but it's very nicely groomed (huge props to the builders!) and lacks the sort of high intensity impacts that are a challenge for shorter travel bikes.

Handles Like an '82 911

I have a friend who owns an older Porsche 911. He could probably afford a newer model but he appreciates the limitations the 1982 imposes. A newer Porsche has mountains of grip and incredibly sophisticated electronic systems that allow you to carve corners at 120 km/h without putting down your coffee. If you have access to a track or the Autobahn that's great, but for the rest of us it means approaching the limit is virtually impossible. That 1982 911 SC, with fewer driving aids, and smaller wheels with narrower tires, can entertain at far lower speeds.The parallel here is that lighter more nimble bikes with less travel feel faster by translating more feedback from the ground to your hands and feet. And fast is fun. I'm not saying the Spectral 125 can't go as fast as bikes with more travel in some situations, rather that lower speeds feel faster and more fun, although for different reasons than the 911.

Geometry

Bike shape has been changing quickly lately. So much so that Yeti's SB150, the bike Richie Rude rides on the EWS circuit, is half a degree steeper than the S-125. Obviously most bikes with 125mm of rear travel are steeper than the Spectral 125, and it's remarkable Canyon was willing to push so hard and make such a cutting edge machine. The two-year-old Tallboy IV is a more direct comparison and it has a 65.7º HA and a wheelbase in size XL (with similar dimensions to the size large S 125) is 1239, or 20mm shorter than the SpectraL 125. A number that was omitted from the geo chart is BB height, and strangely it's the one number that seems out of sync with the cutting edge geo at 344mm - assuming my measuring tape reads correctly. The wheelbase gets things back on track with a generous 1259 (again the number outpaces my Yeti SB150 which measures 1248. I haven't yet felt that any of these numbers need correcting, although I have to wonder how well this excellently arcing machine would corner if it was a little lower at the BB. Rear centre is another number missing from the chart but we can deduce that each model is the same in that measurement because the stays are 437mm for each size.

2022 spectral 125 geometry and leverage graph.jpg

The one dimension that seems to be missing is bottom bracket height. By my measurement it is 344 mm,* which is perhaps the least modern data point on the bike - and this was in the low position. The graph compares the original Spectral's leverage curve (M121-01) with the Spectral 125 (M144-01). Unsurprisingly the 125 ramps up a little more quickly than the original.

*I measured it three times to be sure I wasn't screwing something up

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 20.jpg

The fork is very close to the top of the line Factory model, the only difference I've found is the absence of Kashima coat.

Suspension Setup

I have not yet dialled in the suspension and there is more performance available. AT 25% sag (165 psi) I'm not getting full travel in the rear which means the entire system is a little too progressive for my current 165 lbs. The Float X Elite on the S-125 8 has no adjustable compression* so my only way forward is to open the shock and reduce the volume of the spacer(s) within. The only external adjustment is low speed rebound which I have set at 6 clicks out (of 8) and it still seems a little slow to me. The fork seems closer and is feeling like it's almost broken in. I have it at 92 PSI with HSC 4 out (of 8) and LSC 9 out (of 16). (I forgot to check the rebound!)

*This seems to be an OE only shock because the Elite versions of the Float X on the Fox website all have a compression knob

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 48.jpg

By the time I touched down this is probably a 5 footer (6 using the nsmb ruler) and I had never launched it before. I was impressed by how composed the bike felt on landing.

Descending

I was immediately smitten with the Spectral 125 on the first descent. The first snowy section was easily tamed and when the trail got twisty, and the snow disappeared, I felt giddy like an 8-year old who just learned to wheelie. It took very little to initiate a turn or hop up over something, and of course there is ample pop thanks to the short travel and progressive leverage curve. It felt like cheating going so fast on bike that felt so little, but the stout fork and slack HA inspired out-sized confidence. The tradeoff with the shorter travel is that the sensation of floating over the ground is rarely felt; instead you are aware of subtle changes in the soil and rock, sometimes for better and other times not. The bike was a hit on trail number one.

After that we pedalled up to Fifth Horseman for a little more challenge. The beginning of the wide open first section of the trail was a blast and I carried speed easily but towards the bottom I began to feel the limitations of the reduced rear travel. The 125mm became overwhelmed quickly by successive high intensity impacts and I had to rein things in. This was only for a short section however and everything else on the trail, the steep sections, the final chute, and all the rock faces, linked together perfectly.

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 52.jpg

Cheap air never felt so good.

Climbing

I haven't yet spent enough time climbing singletrack to talk too much about that, or maybe I have? On the short ups coming 'down' Leppard Trail on Fromme the bike did great. For me this thing feels like a rocket ship on the way up because I'm used to bikes with 150mm of rear travel or more. It's nice and rigid, traction is excellent and the steep seat angle puts me in a great position. It's got 125mm of travel and a lock out. Of course it climbs well!

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 51.jpg

It's compact, light, and lacking wallow from excess travel. Yep. It climbs.

Added Value

Canyon does a good job including useful items for riders, and this bike takes it to the next level. Aside from a fender, and a water bottle and cage, Canyon has added an integrated tool to the S-125. A velcro strap bolted to the underside of the top tube cinches tight on a small seemingly waterproof zippered sac. Inside you'll find a very handy tool. There is a ratcheting driver, a dynaplug insertion device, and a CO2 inflator.

Don't say Down-country (or maybe do?)

During Canyon's Microsoft Teams product presentation for the Spectral 125, the term down-country wasn't uttered once - until I asked about it. With some education from Mike Ferrentino I 've learned this term has a longer pedigree than I assumed. I hadn't heard it before Mike Levy proposed it in his clever and funny article from 2018 (which I finally read today). From both of those perspectives it's clear that for some folks DC terminology would not apply here, but this is the sort of bike that to me should be burdened with that much-maligned label. Which means I'm either cynically resigned to the pending widespread acceptance of down-country, or I'm coming around to it. I'm not sure which.

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 40.jpg

Such fine lines. It probably needs a label. My only complaint about the S-125 thus far is the front tire. The Maxxis DHR II is one of my favourite tires of all time, but in winter a softer compound is essential, and the MaxxTerra front rubber almost sent me careening off a steep ladder bridge into the abyss today. Another solution would be inserts so I can drop the pressure a little. Great tires, wrong season. Impressively the DHR II/Dissector 2.4 EXO combo is on every bike from bottom to top spec.

When I first heard the term "hardtail" applied to bikes without rear suspension, long before retired lawyers and accountants began leathering up and making loud noises on Harleys, I recoiled at the thought of mountain biking being associated with patch-wearing Hells Angels. Over time, terms become labels only, and their earlier meanings, associations, and etymology fade away, and if history is any judge, we are stuck with this one. So tell me then, is this a down-country bike? I feel dirty for saying so, but I hope this is the sort of bike that embodies the future of that term as we slice mountain biking into categories so thin they have become transparent. If this isn't a down-country bike, and it isn't a trail bike, is it just a mountain bike? If that's the case, how are all the new riders coming into the sport going to be able to figure out if it's the sort of bike they need? Maybe, besides infuriating those of us who have been riding since the 80s, categorization helps new riders understand how bikes with different travel and geometry will perform? But it's probably just about pissing us off.

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 23.jpg

The 200mm post on the large and XL sizes can be reduced up to 25mm in 5mm increments. And so far I have been happy with its performance.

Models

Once I got the Canadian price list I was surprised to discover the model I'm riding, the second from top-of-the-line Spectral 125 CF 8, retails for under 6000 CAD. The other models offer equally impressive value. Every price level comes with good tires, in fact the same tires throughout the line, and there don't seem to be a lot of corners cut on the lower-priced models. There's nothing I wouldn't be happy riding on the 3399 CAD | 2499 EUR | 2899 USD S-125 5 aluminum model. The drivetrain and brakes are very good and, while I haven't ridden the Rock Shox suspension products, they are likely to be perfectly serviceable And the complete S-125 5 costs less than most carbon frames on their own. While there isn't a model with carbon rims, the wheel spec. is highly reputable, with DT Swiss wheels for the top four models and RaceFace AR 30 rims with Shimano hubs for the bottom model.

2022 spectral 125 spec.jpg

While you could say some corners are cut using house-brand componentry, the G5 seat post spec'ed on the top four models can be reduced in travel in 5mm increments up to 25mm for a perfect fit - as long as you don't need anything longer than 200mm. In terms of the top two models, which both get high scores for the Fox 36 GRIP 2 forks, I'm partial to the CF 8 with a full XT group and sensible Elite level Fox suspension, but the upsell to the CF 9 is easy as well. You get a SRAM EAGLE GX AXS drivetrain, DT Swiss XCM 1501 wheels with carbon rims and DT 240 hubs (vs 350), rear shock and fork get bumped to Factory level, and it's all topped off with SRAM Code RSC brakes. The price difference here in the frozen wasteland is 1650 CAD. you get a lot for that cash so, aside from budget, it would come down to personal preference. I'm perfectly happy on the CF-8, or I will be assuming I can dial in the rear shock. What's certain is that there isn't a dog in the bunched .

deniz merdanoc 2022 canyon spectral 125 54.jpg

This was the first rock face I rode on the Spectral 125 and the abrupt transition at the bottom smoothed out just fine. After that it was game on, with one exception.

Final Thoughts (for now)

This isn't going to be an overnight success. I'm going to need time to feel confident turning more aggressive inputs into productive outputs on this bike. In situations where I can confidently haul up hard on my bars at speed on other bikes, I'm still feeling a little timid on the Spectral 125. I know enough about the bike to believe it can handle the lines I usually ride but I balked at one entrance to a combo rock line on Fifth Horseman that I usually ride. The margin for error is certainly narrower on the S-125 but I'm confident that more time on it will help me perform closer to the level I'm at on my SB150, and perhaps better in situations where pop and cornering speed are more important than taming rough ground. One of the things I'm most impressed by is how solid the bike feels; both descending and climbing it has a very planted and sturdy character. Stay tuned.

The Spectral 125 8 as weighed: 32.9 lbs/14.93 kilos with pedals, 31.96 lbs/14.49 kg without pedals.

If you can see this article you can order a Spectral 125 immediately.

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae

Height - 6'/183cm (mostly legs)

Weight - 170lbs/77kg

Inseam - 34"/86cm

Ape Index - 0.986

Age - 56

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Boogieman

Bar Width - 760mm

Preferred Reach - 485-500mm (longer with 27.5 wheels than 29)

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Comments

JBC
Jordan Drew
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 4Runner1 Dogl0rd Timer

I would not call this a downcoutry bike. A downcountry bike is a short travel bike (120 rear 130 front Max), that achieves a sub 27lb weight by eschewing most burly components and throwing money at the problem.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 solar_evolution Mammal Jordan Drew

To be clear, I’m not saying the Spectral 125 is DC, assuming there is any agreement on that, I’m saying that if we are stuck with that term, I would like it come to refer to bikes like this. Language is fluid and I’m trying to make it flow my way!

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tim Coleman

Jordan, i'm with you on the definition of DC.  I see it being 120/120 max and light.  This is an aggressive trail bike.  

As an aside I really like Tim Colemans definition of trail bike as being anything that doesn't have a double crown fork and isn't an XC bike.  I'm all for less pigeonholing.

Reply

Timmigrant
Tim Coleman
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cam McRae

Haha! Yes! I'm with you that I don't think we need to categorize / pigeonhole everything. Between an XC race bike and a DH bike we have a spectrum of trail bikes that are great for riding trails! Fun. You choose more or less travel with more or less aggressive geometry for the type of trails you ride most. And on that topic I love seeing shorter travel bikes with slack head angles. Without having ridden it, I do think I'd like to see this Canyon with a longer front and rear center though.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
0

"We" don't for sure. You could just describe the bike using its metrics and get an idea what it's about, but this won't work for most riders out there who are shopping for bikes. That's where categories become useful.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tim Coleman

Cam - I think NSMB readers are very well educated in metrics that you don't need to describe a bikes category.... altho it's fun making up silly new ones (Shorecountry is my current fav).  For other sites it's a different case.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Yep. We are an enthusiast publication and our audience is incredibly well-informed. I’m talking about most of the people who walk into bike shops or use the internet to figure out the bike they need.

babyzhendo
babyzhendo
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 Velocipedestrian Lynx . Cam McRae

I'm honestly a little shocked that Canyon released this bike into the world, but I'm very glad they did. I bought a Banshee Phantom V3 last year as partner to my Titan, which was feeling a little boring on my lunch/after work rides to Galbraith here in Bellingham. Seems like your impressions were the same as mine on your first descent on this Spectral...I'm consistently shocked by how damn fun a little aggro bike like this is, might be my favorite bike category of all time.

Reply

Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 Lynx . kcy4130 Timer

I always get a bit of a chuckle when bike reviewers from the PNW gripe about tire compound.  Sure, if the bikes were only sold in the PNW, and were only intended to be ridden between October and March, maybe you could blame some product manager somewhere for having the audacity to choose Maxx Terra over Maxx Grip (or other brand equivalents).

Truth is MaxxTerra is going to be ample grippy for half the year here, and probably a heckuva lot more often everywhere else.

But tire preference is so personal who am I to say anything really?

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Hahaha :-D Yeah, for most of the rest of the world, 3C MaxxTerra is more than enough grip, even in the wet. Heck, it's all I've even ridden as the grippiest compound  and I've been told that in the wet, our trails are slicker than stuff in New England (which surprised me). I don't wanna be dragging around all that extra rolling resistance when I'm heading out for a nice 6 hour pedal which will involve a wide variety of trail surfaces and elevation gain/loss, rolling, flat etc. In our rainy season, then heck yeah, for sure I'd love some MaxxGrip compound tyres for the slick, wet coral and roots on the trails I love, but only for them and there's only really a couple anyways, so, it's kind of a is  it really worth it for such a low percentage of the trail/trails we have that "need"  it.

Reply

Timmigrant
Tim Coleman
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I'm usually one the reviewers that comments on tire spec, and it's because I don't think someone buying a new bike should have to pay for new tires at the same time. I hear what you're saying, and realize this is location dependent. I think tire spec should be appropriate of the intended use of the bike, both compound and casing. 

  • Unless it's a DH bike, I don't think there should be a MaxxGrip (or similar) tire on the rear. 
  • For a 155 mm plus travel bike, there should be a MaxxGrip (or similar) front tire, EXO+ front is ok, for longer travel should have atleast a DD rear tire.
  • For a bike like this, I think it's plenty appropriate that there is a MaxxTerra on the front. I don't think Cam is saying this isn't appropriate for this bike, a MaxxTerra front tire is probably appropriate for most folks. I think Cam is simply saying that for around here in the winter a MaxxTerra front tire is inadequate, and on that I completely agree. 

As for not using MaxxGrip at all, a MaxxGrip front tire doesn't add significant rolling resistance, will last a long time, and offer more grip everywhere. Even for a place that doesn't NEED a MaxxGrip front tire, I'd still prefer to have one.

Reply

Ride.DMC
Ride.DMC
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cam McRae

This is a fair point, and with some of the direct to consumer brands starting to offer the end user the ability to customize their bike order, I wonder if we will ever see this sort of customization trickle down to local bike shops?

It would be great if you could spec your tires and dropper post length before even taking the bike out the front door of the shop and not have to eat a bunch of the cost because you want to switch things up a bit.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Agreed on the coming stock with MaxxTerra unless a DH or 150mm+ travel rig and the EXO+ and DD option for those longer bikes as well, EXO+ for <140mm.

I've never bought or tried MaxxGrip, never saw the need, but I remember the first time a friend got one for his Assegai, the rubber felt so damn soft compared to my 3C MaxxTerra, it was insane and I can only assume going by my use of Maxxis other compounds that it is  something would be easily felt.

This being said, I'm mainly a Maxxis guy, but I bought a Hans Dampf and Nobby  Nic when they came out with the new compounds with all the "improvements' that they were supposed to have made, big one being knobs not just ripping off if you look at them too hard and was absolutely shocked by how much grip the SpeedGrip (blue line) compound has, yet rolls really damn fast, would say grips as well as MaxxTerra, but rolls a bit better.

Reply

kos
Kos
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Cam McRae hairymountainbeast

I'm holding out for a 100 mm xc race whip with enduro geometry.

And room for no bottle whatsoever.

Reply

rigidjunkie
Allen Lloyd
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 4Runner1 Dogl0rd

I am always intrigued by bikes like this, they seem perfect for where I live. My issue is that I fear a bike with 20mm more travel probably climbs 90% as good as this and descends much better.  With how well modern bikes ride is there really any benefit from a bike with less travel?

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Counterpoint - with how well modern bikes ride, is there really any benefit from a bike with more travel? 

(but your point is valid - the beauty of it is we're currently absolutely spoiled for choice, and you can split hairs as fine as you like to find the bike designed for the perfect split of ascending and descending performance you like)

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Cam McRae goose8

That's exactly where I find myself these days. Modern suspension climbs super good, so almost anyone can be happy pedaling more travel uphill than they used to. But modern suspension and geo descends so well that I - and I am absolutely speaking in terms of my own riding parameters and lack of ambition to go big - rarely find myself ringing the rosie on anything with more than about 130mm of travel these days.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Perhaps not if you aren’t drawn to the lively nature, manoeuvrability and trail feel of a shorter travel bike. And I’d add versatility to that list. From my coddled bike media perspective I see this as a great second bike for someone who already has a bike that is at the upper end of travel for the terrain they ride. Other potential candidates would be riders who are so skilled that shorter travel keeps things interesting for their trails and riders whose terrain doesn’t call for more squish.

Reply

DogVet
Hugo Williamson
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cam McRae

A 5010 would be better for those super talented riders. 

Short travel is fine with good geometry, but in the uk, rutted multiple muddy hits soon brings fatigue, particularly where there is little ability to carry speed in order to perform a manoever/ jump over obstacles,  so slightly more travel or a longer travel mullet gives a great blend of speed, balance etc and reduces fatigue levels.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 solar_evolution Lynx .

Today's Wordle solution describes what I want to do to my head after Cam's invocation of the words down and country. (but otherwise great article, buddy!)

Reply

solar_evolution
solar_evolution
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman

Thanks for the hint. Solved it on my second word choice, ha!

Reply

Mikelb01
Mikelb01
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Cam McRae Niels van Kampenhout

On that OE Fox Float X shock you can actually adjust the load speed compression.  The black cover can be taken off and there is and adjustment underneath.  I believe if you grip the black compression cover hard enough you can turn it.  Fox has a diagram on the service site showing this if you know where to look.

https://www.ridefox.com/fox17/img/help/page1132-CPJ1/808-17-471-KIT-m.jpg

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Weird! Why not just put a dial on it then? Thanks for the tip!

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

If the BB actually is that high, maybe one could run it as a mullet with the fork reduced to 130mm?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Interesting idea.

I wonder if that’s enough? You could help it along by running it in high position if needed.

We are only talking 10mm, and I didn’t notice it feeling high but my numbers seem to be correct.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cam McRae

Great article...  makes me DC curious.  Cypress running so hot right now!

Reply

monsieurgage
Gage Wright
4 months, 1 week ago
0

This is what I came here for.  The article was fine but after seeing the photos and reading Cam's words I needed a weather report and trail update.  Cheers Jerry.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cam McRae

I know this is NSMB and as such most of the reviewers will be riding or able to ride some seriously technical, super steep stuff and most rides will be climbing into descending, but for most of the rest of the world, we don't get all that nice stuff, we pedal flat, rolling, not steep climbs etc., so for the 64* HTA is too slack, but the 430mm BB is nice, allows for an easier time to pop the front wheel up or keep pedaling in the rough/chunk.

I still long for my 105mm rear travel Phantom, ran it with a 130mm fork, hoping maybe one day to get the BB fixed and safe to ride. The HTA could be set at 67.5/68/68.5 and the STA was "only" 74 (snickers, hate the modern steep STA for the long, everything encompassing, climbing, rolling/flat, steep rides I like) but man did I love that feeling of absolutely being the one that made things happen, more so than the bike/geometry/travel doing it all for me, keeping on the back wheel of someone on a 130mm+ rear travel bike always made me feel good, pushing them to error trying to keep me "at bay", well, that just made me LTFO.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Lynx .

No question Lynx. Our terrain is very specific but this bike is much less location dependent than most of the bikes we test. Also - BB height as measured was 344 - not 430.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Cam McRae

LOL, yeah, sorry, my bad, I mix and match imperial with metric on bike measurements and the BB is one imperial place, metric somehow just doesn't register for me there. For me a rigid with a 12" BB is OK, but a HT, I want 12.5" and FS  13"> My current fav bike, the Kona Unit has a BB of 12.25" with the 29x2.6" setup and about 12.5" with the 29x3.0" setup, love this thing when it gets really chunky and tech, so much fun.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Lynx .

Yep - there's definitely a point at which steeper STA becomes detrimental to everything seated other than real climbs. You end up with too much weight on your shoulders/arms, which is fatiguing at best, and uncomfortable and slow at worst. 

You're right, though. Few things are more fun than harassing friends from behind on your short travel rig.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 1 week ago
0

The steep STA thing for me is not really so much putting weight on your arms/shoulders, but more so the lack of or disengagement of the ability to use the bigger muscles in your legs, Glutes. I always liken it to the World Records for seated leg press vs standing squat, the seated leg press weight is DOUBLE what the standing squat is, and having a steeper STA is equivalent of moving from  a seated press to standing squat. I'm not a fan of the modern  day pie plates on the cassettes and 30-32t chainrings, I like to put down power, climb at a decent pace, if not as fast as I can and those steep STAs (steeper than 74* for me) just don't let you do that.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Totally off topic...

But, you have some pics that illustrate my useless yet quick, rant.  Why the ever-loving-f'ing-F... can't maxxis place its hot patches equidistant from each other!  And in the same place on either side??!  Who's job is this and why do they still have a job??  Is it the CEO's 10 year old nephew that doesn't ride?  Who-ever this person is, I hate them deeply.

Your pics of this bike perfectly illustrate this mind-numbingly, core-shakingly disturbing phenomenon.  As illustrated, DT Swiss (along with every other rim and tire manufacturer) seem to have no problem with this.  But with Maxxis, anyone that has even a slight hint of an OCD-ish side to them, has to choose between lining up the Maxxis logo or the other hot patch.  I won't lie, on my recent build I pondered this decision for wayyyy too long... even slept on it.  I over-thinked it (haha) and went somewhere in-between.. and I hate it. 

That's it, I'm writing Maxxis support a strongly worded email.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
0

And if you want to get anal, the MAXXIS doesn't usually line up on either side of the tire. So you have to pick drive or non-drive side for proper valve/logo alignment. 

Which is annoying AF.

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g_k
Gernot Kvas
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Cam, you write "While there isn't a model with carbon rims, the wheel spec. is highly reputable". The XMC 1501 wheelset has carbon rims, the C indicating this in the wheelset name.

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cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Thank you for that correction! That makes my earlier contention about the 125 c9’s good value even more profound. I will correct. Cheers!

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